Column: A ‘Little’ treasure found in Pomona

A Pulitzer-winning biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder leads me to a surprise the Pomona Public Library didn’t realize it had: a set of signed first editions of Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” books. Also: a bunch of Culture Corner items, a plug for this blog and a Valley Vignette, all in Friday’s column. Above, one of the books’ title page. Hey, bulldog.

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Bob’s Big Boy, Pomona

Above is the Bob’s Big Boy that operated in Pomona at 221 W. Holt Ave. at Main Street. The photo comes from the redoubtable Darin Kuna at the Growing Up in Pomona Facebook page.

Here’s one from reader Bill Marino, which he shot circa 1970. Big Boy has a nice glow about him.

I couldn’t determine when this Bob’s opened. It closed in 1995. It went through several tenants after that, including a stretch as a combination Chinese-Pakistani restaurant, Shalimar Garden, in the 2000s. That or Super China Buffet may have been the last tenant. It’s been vacant for five or more years.

Here it is in its current state. There’s a for-lease sign.

Any memories of the Pomona Bob’s, readers?

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50 percent can’t see 71

A view from the 10 Freeway looking east

After my column last summer on the “Corona na” sign on the southbound 57 Freeway approaching the 71 and 10, an anonymous reader wrote me a letter about another oddity in the same area:

“As motorists approach and enter Pomona while driving east on the 10, they observe seven signs announcing Highway 71 (the Corona Freeway) and there is a two-lanes-wide exit/transition to the southbound 71.

“Conversely, motorists driving west through Pomona on the 10 are given no hint at all that Highway 71 exists.”

True. As the saying goes, you can’t get there from here. The 71 North doesn’t connect to the westbound lanes of the 10, nor can you get directly from the 71 North to the 10 East, only to the 10 West.

Because there’s no direct way to reach the 71 South when driving west on the 10, I take the Dudley/Fairplex exit, drive a few blocks south to Holt, hang a right and get on the 71 there. Presumably this will all be taken care of when the 71 becomes a freeway through Pomona — construction of which may start in 2020.

Pomona’s White Avenue only has an exit from the 10 for eastbound travelers too. If you’re headed west, there’s no exit for White, just as I believe the Kellogg Drive exit is only accessible by westbound travelers as well. Pomona has a lot of freeway quirks and this doesn’t even cover them all.

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Two views of Magu

The painter and sculptor Gilbert “Magu” Lujan was featured in my “Pomona A to Z” series of columns in 2004, representing the letter M. A pioneering figure in the Chicano art movement, and in later years a resident of the Pomona Arts Colony, he died in 2011. But he’s still remembered.

Lujan’s work was the subject of a PST: LA/LA show, and across from the dA Center for the Arts in downtown Pomona, a utility box’s mural pays homage. See above. I suspect the (Grauman’s?) dragon is a reference to his most-seen work, the Hollywood-themed decor of the Hollywood and Vine Metro station. Magu’s pose is clearly based on the portrait by my colleague Will Lester for my column about him, which is included in my “Pomona A to Z” book. If the artist’s name turns up, I’ll credit him/her.

Update: Antonio Mejia is the name of the painter. Thanks to Chris Toovey for the credit.

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